Philippines, New Zealand sign education agreement


Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern has met notorious Philippines President Rodrigo Duterte, with Iran, fish and nuclear bombs among the topics of conversation during a curious opening.

Duterte, as chair of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN), also chaired the EAS.

There was not much buzz about New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern during her first Philippine visit, but she ended the trip with agreements signed with her host government and the country's national carrier that are seen to boost ties between the two countries.

The Philippines and New Zealand signed an amendment to extend geothermal energy cooperation.

Ardern arrived in the country on Sunday, November 12, to attend the 31st Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) Summit and Related Meetings.

Turnbull this month rejected the refugee resettlement offer from his New Zealand counterpart, Jacinda Ardern, preferring instead to work through an existing refugee swap deal he negotiated with former US President Barack Obama a year ago.

During the Makati event, the Prime Minister announced her plan to appoint two Filipinos as honorary consuls based in Cebu and Davao, as part of a plan to increase New Zealand's commercial interests outside Manila.

"But I was very pleased today that there has been an announcement that Philippine Airlines will be flying direct to New Zealand starting in December which will be a fantastic opportunity", she said.

Meanwhile, Ardern said that the Filipino community is well-loved in the land of Kiwis.

"There is more than just economics to discuss, and the East Asia Summit has become the central place for discussing Pacific issues", he told a news conference Tuesday.

Ardern also praised Romeo Udanga whom she said did a "phenomenal job" during last year's election in New Zealand.

Despite Mr Turnbull rejecting the offer, Ms Ardern this week said it remained on the table and she would seek a second meeting with Mr Turnbull to discuss the "unacceptable" situation inside the Manus island detention centre. Duterte and Ardern sat for bilateral talks at the summit's conclusion on Tuesday.

"Our view is that the number of deaths certainly require investigation and oversight at the very least", Ardern told her media pool early Tuesday.

The UN refugee agency yesterday urged Australia to accept New Zealand's offer to resettle 150 refugees from an abandoned Australian-run detention centre in Papua New Guinea, as about 450 men remain barricaded inside without food or water.